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Too much security, not enough justice: Stop ID checks at the LSE now!

-_- | 22.01.2009 10:32 | Repression

text distributed around lse

- Please forward this message to all your contacts in LSE

- Please sign our petition – stop ID checks at the LSE now

- Refuse ID checks: Meet at 1pm on Thursday, 22.1 on the fourth floor of
the Old Building , between the elevators outside the restaurant. We will
cross over to the East building via the airwalk and back refusing to be

Dear students and colleagues,

Tensions are running high at the moment on campus. This atmosphere affects
all members of the School community and not merely those who are directly
involved in current political disputes. But please let us explain why.

As some of you may know, a group of security guards has been occupying the
LSE campus since Tuesday.

There is nothing to be gained from the ID card checks conducted by these
security guards. The LSE administration will hypocritically allow just
about anyone to enter some of the school's venues (such as the Three Tuns)
provided they are prepared to consume. However when it comes to entering a
space in which people are fighting for what they believe in, access is
suddenly restricted. Our campus now resembles an occupied zone with ID
card checks almost at every corner. We know that the security guards in
place are outsourced by private security firms and we have nothing against
them in person. We understand that the administration has ordered this
policy in order for the students that have taken over the Old Theatre to
be intimidated and for the LSE community to turn against them.

We stand by our students, we support their peaceful actions and we tell
the administration: These students have taken over the Old Theatre (else,
the Theatre of the Old) because they come from the future. You’d better
listen to and respect what they have to say.

The occupation of the LSE by security guards has now reached the point
where it is disrupting teaching and learning. We must also consider the
welfare of students, some of whom have told us of their distress at the
constant ID checks. So the School’s community must bring this occupation
to an end now before further discussions are held.

We call for peaceful action against ID checks. Meet at 1pm on Thursday,
22.1, on the fourth floor of the Old Building outside the restaurant. We
will cross over to the East Building via the airwalk and back refusing to
be ID-checked. In all cases, refuse to show your ID - there is nothing in
the school's regulation requiring you to do so!

To the school administration we return its own words:

“We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and hope you
understand. We are taking all reasonable steps to bring the school’s
occupation to a close.”

LSE staff and students in solidarity with the students at the Theatre of
the Old



as of this morning

22.01.2009 10:53

The extra security has disappeared from campus - perhaps they've realised their presence was an intimidation and provocation to the staff and students. Still great to see this text come out of LSE though!



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Campus surveillance

22.01.2009 16:30

I am a postgraduate student at Queen Mary in East London. I have only been at the university a few months, but have noticed a number of troubling things regarding campus 'security'.

Not only are students encouraged to wear their ID cards round their neck at all times (is this to get us used to ID cards to come....?) students have to show ID to get into certain buildings, although security guards are, as far as I know, employed directly by the university and are not outsourced as in LSE.

There is also a Safer Streets unit from the police directly on one of the entrances to the campus. Although this is no doubt in part to assuage fear of crime in the area, it is a worrying precedent. The idea that police could be permanently stationed on a university campus is unthinkable in many countries (Greece being the most obvious recent example) where the university is still seen as an autonomous zone.

Furthermore, there are over 90 CCTV cameras around the campus. Several people have mentioned to me that much of this surveillance apparatus was put in place after September 11, and that it could have an explicit political function: to keep tabs on a campus that has a large number of Asian/Muslim students - potential 'extremists'.

If they are going to watch us we need to make sure we are watching them back.

Keep up the occupations!